3 Oscars Speeches Making Waves

Patricia Arquette, John Legend lead calls for change
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 23, 2015 6:30 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2015 7:53 AM CST

(Newser) – What many may remember best about last night's Oscars were the acceptance speeches: It was a "particularly passionate evening," writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times. "The political speeches were somber, but they turned out to be more lively and bracing than any of (host Neil Patrick) Harris' skits." Three highlights:

  • Patricia Arquette, who won the best supporting actress award, took a stand for women's rights, Politico reports. "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation: We have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America," she said, prompting an enthusiastic response from the audience (Meryl Streep and JLo's exuberant reactions are similarly making waves).

  • John Legend and Common won best original song for "Glory," from Selma, and they took the opportunity to voice concern about racial inequality, Politico reports. "We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country," Legend said of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision weakening the Voting Rights Act. "The struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."
  • Graham Moore won best adapted screenplay for The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing, who faced prejudice for being gay, Time reports. Turing's work was underappreciated, Mashable notes, and he committed suicide at 41. Moore told his own story: "When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I'm standing here, and so I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she's weird or she's different or she doesn't fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do … Stay weird, stay different."
Another memorable moment: Lady Gaga's rendition of songs from The Sound of Music, which "totally worked," writes James Poniewozik in Time; it concluded with Julie Andrews offering her blessing. Click for another "jarring and unexpected soundbite" from the acceptance speeches, or, for something later, watch NPH flub a bunch of names.

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